UW Solar


UW-Solar develops solar facilities – from plan to power generation – with accompanying Industrial Control Systems on buildings on the UW campus and with various other partners in the Puget Sound region. On the UW Campus our solar installations are used as research testbeds for smart grid technology with the Clean Energy Institute. We are also currently working with the Port of Seattle to create a plan for solar development of their many maritime facilities. To find out more, please visit the Urban Infrastructure Lab website and the UW Solar website.

Getting Involved

UW-Solar is also an interdisciplinary team of students and a registered student organization open to all majors and students at any level (from freshman to PhD). UW-Solar pulls together undergraduates and graduate students with a passion for clean energy together from the diverse programs offered in urban planning, architecture, engineering (electrical, civil, environmental, computer science, mechanical), construction management, public policy, public administration, information science, and business. No existing expertise is necessary; all interested persons are welcome.

UW-Solar is looking for students to participate in the following activities in solar facility development:

  • Assessment of solar capacity for a site
  • Draft solar panel layout and racking system
  • Solar shading analysis (3D renderings) and electrical one-line drawings
  • Recommend solar panel, inverter/metering, and racking system options
  • Formulate grid interconnect and storage options
  • Recommend EV (electric vehicle) charging station options
  • Calculate avoided kWh energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Research financial and non-financial benefits of solar
  • Forecast lifecycle costs and financial returns
  • Research and recommend changes to energy-related policies

UW-Solar typically expects students to commit 3 hours per week for each credit hour registered. We introduce new team members to the basics of project development. Through this on-boarding process, new members choose the types of skills they would like to develop, are queried for existing skills, and organized together to produce professional plans, feasibility studies, procurement procedures, and operational energy systems. Solar systems take a minimum of 9 months to move from plan to power. New members will get the most out of their UW-Solar experience by participating for at least three quarters. UW-Solar is housed in the Urban Infrastructure Lab. 

Students interested in joining VIP should follow the instructions on the Joining page.